Students of all ages love amusement parks and theme parks. They love the rides, attractions, larger-than-life characters, and the games. Theme parks also provide a perfect opportunity for interdisciplinary instruction. Thematic amusement park projects can be assigned as either individual or group projects, allowing students to showcase their strengths (e.g.: drawing, model making, math, or writing) while giving them practice organizing their thoughts, brainstorming, and planning and executing a project.
Creating a thematic amusement park is a fun and engaging way to demonstrate an entire year’s worth of content mastery. For example, educators who cover ancient civilizations will find that students are eager to create a park that showcases the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and others. Students enjoy thinking up rides and attractions like the “Lazy Nile River Ride” and the “Paleolithic Petting Zoo.”
If time and schedules allow, thematic amusement parks offer a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines. For example, social studies teachers can require that students use the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as the theme, while science teachers may require students to figure out the physics of a “Hanging Gardens of Babylon Free Fall.” Math teachers may choose to have students figure out the optimal angle for construction of the “Great Pyramid Maze” replica. And finally, language arts teachers can work with students to write an informational brochure and guide. World language connections are also easy to integrate as well. Consider having students build a model of one ride or attraction, creating a brochure or preparing a Power Point presentation for the class. Certainly, however, amusement park projects can be geared towards specific content area, whether it be social studies, math, science or language arts.
An alternative to planning an amusement park is to plan and host a thematic fair. You can assign different groups of students a theme period or continent and have them plan a game, make an authentic food and dress in character. I have chosen some theme park lesson plans that I think you'll enjoy.
Theme Park Lesson Plans:
This lesson provides students with a forum to explore the creation of a large-scale amusement park. It also has them explore and discuss the skills and knowledge necessary to troubleshoot problems at such facilities.
This interactive lesson allows students to learn about the math, science and physics behind their favorite amusement park rides. In this lesson they also design a virtual roller coaster that must pass a safety inspection.
This lesson facilitates the creation of a Revolutionary War-based amusement park. It serves as a great template for teachers who want to have students create a thematic park based on a historical era.
A similar format is suggested in this lesson which engages students in the creation of a theme park based on a novel. Students design rides, attractions, menus and costumes related to the piece of literature.